Nicollette Sheridan’s ‘Desperate Housewives’ Firing Case Gets New Life From Appeals Court

Nicollette Sheridan
Gregg DeGuire/WireImage

The attorney for actress Nicollette Sheridan says they are looking forward to a new trial after a California appellate court ruled that she was not required to file a claim with the state labor commissioner before filing her lawsuit against “Desperate Housewives” producer Touchstone Television.

Sheridan claims that she was terminated from “Desperate Housewives” in retaliation for complaining about an incident in which executive producer Marc Cherry struck her during a 2008 rehearsal. That led to a 2012 trial in which the jury was deadlocked 8-4 in Sheridan’s favor.

But the litigation has continued through a series of appeals, as Sheridan has sought a new trial while attorneys for Touchstone argued that she could not proceed as she had yet to exhaust remedies with the state labor commissioner.

The appellate judges cited an amendment made to the labor code in 2013 that they said clarified the law that permitted but did not require that plaintiffs resort to administrative procedures. They did not decide whether the allegations of the complaint were sufficient as a matter of law in any other respect.

“Nicollette and I were both very pleased with the appellate court’s decision in our favor, and we look forward to the second jury trial,” Sheridan’s attorney, Mark Baute, said in a statement. “The first jury trial was a hung jury, 8 jurors for Nicollette, and 4 jurors for Disney, and we believe that there are very few surprises left for us to deal with on the second trial, particularly now that the show is off the air and is in syndication.”

A spokesman for Disney said they had no comment.

Cherry, who was dropped as a defendant in the case during the 2012 trial,  said he merely gave her a “tap” as he was trying to demonstrate how she should perform a scene.